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New Orleans Attorney Profiles 2015
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Ex-Jefferson School Board aide files EEOC complaint against former board president

Cedric Floyd

The Jefferson Parish public school system appears likely to face a lawsuit over allegations that former School Board President Cedric Floyd verbally harassed an assistant last year before she resigned from her job. Former School Board staff secretary Sharon Hunter this month filed a discrimination charge against the school district with the Equal Employment… Continue reading →

Will union’s unexpected defeat at Lusher School prove to be an exception or the rule? Time will tell

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Lusher Charter School's Alcee Fortier Campus is seen in New Orleans, La. Thursday, April 14, 2016.

A day ahead of Tuesday’s vote on whether teachers at Lusher Charter School would join an officially recognized union, union organizers were confident of victory. A solid majority of teachers had signed a petition in April asking the school to voluntarily accept the union, a chapter of the United Teachers of New Orleans. Even… Continue reading →

‘Keep your heart in the game,’ Loyola dropout Harry Connick Jr. tells 2016 graduates

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Ana Lucena, right, and Kevin Lindsey take a picture with Harry Connick, Jr. after he gave the commencement address for Loyola University in the Superdome in New Orleans, La. Saturday, May 21, 2016.

As 750 graduating students from Loyola University walked across the stage Saturday morning at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, they had Grammy-winning musician and actor Harry Connick Jr. cheering them on. The New Orleans native was also celebrating with them, for the school bestowed an honorary doctorate in music on him. Because Connick dropped out of… Continue reading →

'It’s your house': Hoda Kotb mixes jokes with sentiment in celebrating Tulane commencement

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--NBC's "Today" show co-host and former WWL-TV anchor Hoda Kotb, center, takes a picture with Ellen Sherwood, center with cap, and Lauren Hellinger, with cap off in the Superdome during Tulane University's 2016 Commencement Ceremony   in New Orleans, La. Saturday, May 14, 2016. Kotb was the keynote speaker and received the President's medal.

When Derrick Edwards was a senior at John F. Kennedy High School in 1989, he suffered a catastrophic injury while playing football. Doctors told him he was paralyzed forever from the neck down because of a spinal cord injury that required six months of hospital care. Edwards still managed to graduate from high school on time… Continue reading →

Board member resigns at Lusher; International High School administrators challenge union election

A member of Lusher Charter School’s governing board has resigned in the face of continued on-campus strife ahead of a union election scheduled for Tuesday. Meanwhile, International High School of New Orleans administrators formally challenged the National Labor Relations Board’s right to oversee a separate union election at that school, even though the board already has… Continue reading →

State officials say Einstein Charter School is safe; no asbestos in air samples

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--State education officials said Tuesday they were shutting the campus of Einstein Charter School on Cannes Street in New Orleans East because of potential asbestos contamination at the site. The school will remain closed for at least the next two days while environmental testing continues. Photo taken in New Orleans, La. Tuesday, May 10, 2016.

A day after closing Einstein Charter School in New Orleans East because of potential asbestos contamination, state officials said Wednesday that preliminary testing showed the building is safe for students after all. However, it will not reopen immediately. “Preliminary air testing results show zero presence of asbestos in the air, indicating that… Continue reading →

Einstein Charter School in New Orleans East closed because of potential asbestos hazard

State education officials shut down the campus of Einstein Charter School in New Orleans East on Tuesday because of evidence of potential asbestos contamination at the site. The school will remain closed at least through Wednesday while environmental testing continues. Patrick Dobard, head of the state’s Recovery School District, said the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality… Continue reading →

New Orleans charter school official blasts teachers unions, urges Lusher faculty to reject union drive

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Lusher Charter School's Alcee Fortier Campus is seen in New Orleans, La. Thursday, April 14, 2016.

The vice president of the board that governs the Choice Foundation, a three-school charter network in New Orleans, urged Lusher Charter School teachers last week to vote against forming a union, highlighting long-standing tensions between unions and charter schools. Lusher is not among the schools run by the Choice Foundation. Robbie Evans, who also… Continue reading →

Questions remain as New Orleans schools prepare to return to local control

Advocate file photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- It was the end of summer vacation and the dawn of a new school year as some of the 620 students head to class on the first day of school at Lake Forest Charter School at 12000 Hayne Blvd. in  New Orleans, La. Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. Schools in the metro area have a variety of starting dates.

No one knows if this marriage is going to work, but they’ve set a date. It’s the wedding of a local charter school movement that so far has been mostly shielded from local politics to an elected local school board that is anything but. A bill now awaiting the signature of… Continue reading →

Informed decisions: Slightly more than half of New Orleans students get first choice of public school

A little more than half of New Orleans elementary and secondary school students were accepted into their first choice of a public school this spring, schools officials said. It was exactly the same result as last year, when 54 percent of students also got their first choice in the city’s common enrollment process, known as OneApp.… Continue reading →

Lusher board members take administrators to task over challenge to union drive

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Lusher Charter School's Alcee Fortier Campus is seen in New Orleans, La. Thursday, April 14, 2016.

Three board members at Lusher Charter School have denounced a move this week by school CEO Kathy Riedlinger to challenge an upcoming unionization election for teachers, saying the move is in direct conflict with the board’s recent directive urging employees to remain neutral. Board Chairman Blaine LeCesne and members Chunlin Leonhard and Carol Whelan said Riedlinger… Continue reading →

Grace Notes: Likely handover of RSD schools to Orleans Parish School Board stunning, yet inevitable

The apparently impending handover of state-run schools to the long-troubled local school board is a huge development in the closely watched saga of post-Katrina education in New Orleans. It’s also an inevitable one. Emergency measures are needed some times — look no further than the likely federal takeover of the Orleans Parish jail — but… Continue reading →

First Amendment lawyer urges students, parents to fight for free speech on college campuses

About 40 percent of young people think the American government should be able to censor statements that are offensive to minority groups, the Pew Research Center found last year. And that, according to free speech and religious liberty advocate Greg Lukianoff, is a dangerous statistic. “Something’s happened in the past couple of years,” he… Continue reading →

Lusher Charter School administration challenges federal agency’s right to oversee teachers unionization election

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Lusher Charter School's Alcee Fortier Campus is seen in New Orleans, La. Thursday, April 14, 2016.

Lusher Charter School administrators have formally challenged the ongoing push to unionize that school’s educators, disputing a federal agency’s right to oversee a local union election. The New Orleans school’s attorneys say because Lusher is a “political subdivision,” in effect a local government, it does not fall under the purview of the National Labor Relations Board,… Continue reading →

Lusher administration calls unionizing drive divisive, power grab

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Lusher Charter School's Alcee Fortier Campus is seen in New Orleans, La. Thursday, April 14, 2016.

The head of Lusher Charter School and her administrative team have come out swinging against the push to unionize teachers at the high-performing New Orleans magnet school, calling the move a divisive power grab that won’t benefit students. It’s the first big showdown between school managers and the union that used to represent local educators before… Continue reading →

Louisiana expected to tweak rules on training new teachers

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  The George Washington Carver drumline brings the beat to the Recovery School District (RSD) and Collegiate Academies 'celebration of the opening of the new Edward Livingston building located at 7301 Dwyer Road on Thursday, August 27, 2015. Carver is using the site now but will move to another facility next year. Livingston cost $29 million dollars to build and was funded through FEMA. The building is 107,000 square feet and is designed to handle 718 students.

Louisiana education officials are considering changing teacher licensing requirements, two years after the state implemented an experimental program aimed at shoring up new teachers’ classroom skills. The program, dubbed Believe and Prepare, was launched in 2014 with five school districts, two charter school organizations and five “preparation providers,” which may be universities or alternative certification programs.… Continue reading →

Another New Orleans charter school seeks unionization, bringing the tally to 4

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Mohammad Jodah, holding a  cane, Bilal Nassar, Malik Abuali, Mohamed Mohamed and Amir Al-Shathri perform a Moroccan dance on Jan. 13 at the International High School of New Orleans.

Teachers at another local charter school, the International High School of New Orleans, are pushing to unionize, hoping among other things to improve their job security in a city where most teachers now are at-will employees. Teachers announced Wednesday that more than 70 percent of the faculty have asked the school’s governing board to recognize them… Continue reading →